Top 7 Tips to Upgrade and Save Money Now on New Mobile Phones and Service
#7: The cellular / mobile phone industry in the U.S. is very competitive. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
Extremely competitive is almost an understatement. They’re at war (financially.) You can see it in their commercials as they constantly dig at each other even though to the average person it may seem like their services, devices and support are somewhat comparable.
You’re always going to find people who may say “I hate XYZ company! Their coverage or service is horrible!” Then you discover that they haven’t used XYZ company since they upgraded to the iPhone 4.
Fortunately, the most aggressive mobile phone carriers interested in you are on the front end of the technological curve, and upgrade very frequently.
T-Mobile USA along with CEO John Legere are successfully and aggressively working to disrupt the mobile industry and aquire new customers because their network technology has quickly overtaken Verizon in coverage and speed over the last year.
New technological advances are coming quickly to T-Mobile USA due to new FCC licenses T-Mobile USA has acquired set to roll out this summer. Their fun and friendly attitude towards customers certainly makes a difference.
T-Mobile USA has a brilliant campaign where they constantly dig at Verizon and other carriers through social media. T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere’s “Slow Cooker Sunday,” is amazing and of course T-Mobile has a variety of memorable commercials, live events and great personal interviews.
Sprint digs at Verizon likewise because they pretty much use the same technology with “less than 1% difference in coverage.” This is told to us through the former Verizon television ad spokesperson “Paul” who became known for asking “can you hear me now?”
U.S. mobile phone carriers are in an ongoing battle for customers in an effort to grow their base, increase their stock value, acquire or be acquired, and ultimately make a profit.
Who wins? You, if you’re smart about it. So be sure to shop around for the best deals online and offline before your bill is due.
#6: You get better deals when you port your existing phone number to a new carrier.
Often you can get great deals simply by being willing to make the switch from one service to another. The best part is that you can always move your phone number within minutes and get better deals than those who may be signing up for a new number and carrier service.
In one of my transactions, I switched from Cricket to MetroPCS. (Or vice-versa, I don’t recall.) I had unlocked my phone at ReleaseMyCode.com so I knew my Samsung Galaxy GSM phone would be compatible.
By moving my phone number over, my new carrier waived the activation free, gave me a free SIM card and gave me a huge credit after 3 months of automatic payments.
They also discounted a new phone I was interested in by more than $100 and sent me a $100 gift card as part of a Black Friday deal. The end result was that I paid almost nothing for a new phone and sold my old phone for a net profit.
By going to a branded store, I was able to transfer my number, and get assistance in moving all of my contacts and data in a matter of minutes, and do so at a price equal or less than the cost of just continuing service.
By transferring your phone numbers from Cricket to MetroPCS (or vice-versa) you can often get a 100% free phone or sometimes two! Just be aware, that the best deals may not apply if you’re switching from a parent company to a subsidiary, or vice-versa!
#5: You can win, over and over again, if you stay aware of the best deals from carrier stores.
When I’m ready for a newer, better and faster phone with an upgraded camera and speakers, I simply look up who has the best deal and make the switch. Most likely you won’t even notice the difference.
I’ve done this about every six to nine months for the last two years. I could probably do this more often, I just don’t think about it unless I come across an amazing deal. Since there are no contracts with some carriers, it’s easy to do. Especially so when you go to carrier branded stores, rather than to big box stores.
Cricket and MetroPCS will always have “Black Friday” deals, and often limited-time deals every few months that are simply irresistible.
#4: Cash is still king!
If you have great credit and you just need the latest and greatest phones, then you may want to stick with the contract carrier deals that offer leasing contracts. However, if you’re liquid with cash, then there are other deals to be made.
Virgin Mobile just came out with an amazing offer. (July, 2017) When you bring your existing phone number over to them, and buy a new iPhone outright, you can get service for an entire year of unlimited phone, data and text messages for $1 as part of their “Inner Circle.” This comes with a few perks that you may or may not use, such as discounts on Virgin branded airfare and hotels.
For instance: The iPhone 6 from Virgin Mobile is an amazing deal if you have just over three hundred dollars to pay upfront. The end result is a new iPhone and unlimited text, data and messages for an entire year. This is like getting a free newer model iPhone, with service for less than $27 a month plus taxes, and only a 1 year commitment, (because it’s $1 for the year.)
It’s a little less if you opt for the iPhone SE, and of course buying a new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus will cost more. Ultimately it’s a great deal regardless.
The downside is your streaming video on their unlimited 4G data network will be limited to SD quality, which shouldn’t be a big deal if you’re looking at a 3 to 5 inch screen. You’ll still get HD on Wi-Fi of course. There are other typical technical limits, such as capping your speed if you go over 23GB of high speed data a month, so be sure you read the details and reviews, and with Virgin Mobile, be especially mindful to disable access to data roaming.
Unlike MetroPCS and Cricket, you probably won’t find a branded store for Virgin Mobile. But you can get likely get this deal directly from an Apple Store if you let them know about it, or certainly at Virgin Mobile’s website. After a year Virgin’s Inner Circle automatically renews at $50 a month which isn’t terrible. But, it’s a year away and time has a tendency to work in your favor. Especially since there’s no contract.
The average use of a mobile phone is only about 2 years before people seek to upgrade anyway. Obviously mobile devices today are extremely powerful, and often much more powerful than most people actually require.
#3: You’re valuable. So do what makes you happy.
Are you locked into a contract? Carriers such as T-Mobile will often have special deals to buy you out of a competitor’s contract. So look to T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T to see their current offers.
Do the math. Consider the taxes and extra fees, if any. How much data are you using? I’m almost always on Wi-Fi, so I rarely use more than 2GB of high speed 4G LTE data in a month. So what’s the point in paying over $100 a month for unlimited data on contract carriers? Free shows you never watch?
As long as you’re happy with your service coverage, there’s probably a cheaper price on the exact same network from a no-contract carrier. AT&T owns Cricket. T-Mobile owns MetroPCS. Sprint owns Boost and Virgin Mobile. Etc…
If you never need hands on support, then consider a month to month alternative. Just keep in mind that if you switch from a contract service to a month to month carrier, the phone SIM capability may need to be unlocked if you plan to bring your own device. Even if one company owns the other.
If you self-describe yourself as technically challenged and need personal support, or find yourself calling or going into a corporate stores on a regular basis for support, well then you might want to stick with contract services.
AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and others have more of an incentive to take the time to give you amazing customer service because you’re a premium customer that will hopefully continue to renew your contract for years to come.
However, if you’re like me and never call or need anything from your carrier other than great coverage, then a month to month service might be right for you.
If you have a big family with multiple devices. Contract carriers might be the better deal for you. But be sure to shop around and do the math. Often the taxes, overage and hidden fees are more than setting up an auto-pay with a month to month carrier.
#2: Insurance deals aren’t always a deal.
Every carrier is going to offer you insurance, because it’s a cash cow for them and the underwriters. Typically it’s less than $8 a month and good for one or two major issues. If you’re buying a top of the line $950+ iPhone then this probably isn’t a big expense for you. However, be sure to read the fine print and consider your situation. You don’t want to be locked into a two-year lease for a broken phone just because you declined the coveage.
Keep in mind that the deductible required to repair or replace your phone by mail is often equal to or more than what you could pay to have the phone repaired the same day at local or mail-in mobile phone repair store such as Phone Doctors. If you have a good case and a tempered glass screen protector, then you might not ever need a repair.
#1: Resell your old phone and get part of your investment back!
Feel free to sell your old phones for a profit, rather than tossing them into a drawer or landfill. That’s just not right.
When you get a new phone, immediately put it in a case, put a screen protector or tempered glass on it, and put the original box and paperwork somewhere you will remember storing it. When it comes to selling your phone, it often makes it easier to sell, and often at a higher price, if the phone is in mint condition with original packaging.
If nothing else, donate your old phone to a local charity, or give it to a local mobile phone repair shop that can recycle it for parts.
One of the biggest issues with reselling your old phone, or bringing your own phone to a new carrier is compatibility. Be sure that you know the compatibility difference between CDMA carriers such as Verizon, Sprint and U.S. Cellular and GSM carriers such as AT&T, Cricket, T-Mobile, and MetroPCS.
Other than the latest iPhones, CDMA phones will not work with GSM carriers within the United States, regardless of unlock status, and GSM phones will not work with any CDMA carriers worldwide. The technical issue is about radio frequencies.
As an example, think about how AM radio won’t play on FM radio without the proper antennas. The difference between CDMA and GSM cellular frequencies are often the same within the hardware of your favorite phones. As of now, iPhones have the most compatibility across the spectrums. But, be sure to check before you make a switch.
If your phone isn’t blacklisted (reported lost, stolen, or in default of a contract,) then you can easily sell just about any phone on websites such as eBay, Swappa, Craigslist, or on mobile apps such as OfferUp. Be careful with Craigslist and Mobile apps. Only accept cash, and only in a public place with plenty of cameras and people around. Cellular phone repair stores also buy used mobile phones and tablets, so if you’re in a hurry, be sure to check them out.
If you unlock your GSM phone with ReleaseMyCode.com. It not only makes it easier to sell due to the much bigger worldwide market, but you can often get more cash than you can with locked phones.
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